In the past few years, FSU quarterbacks have been accused of a range of off-campus misdeeds. One was videotaped punching women in the face at a local bar. Another was accused of sexual assault and stealing crab legs. Now, yet another FSU quarterback is being accused of domestic battery.
Because the examples outlined above were limited to just the quarterback position, it is now clear that these men who are supposed to be the smart, team leaders have corrupted the entire varsity football program along with the tens of thousands of fans who have enabled their behavior.
Because of a clear cultural problem with the football team, President John Thrasher must now immediately and indefinitely suspend the FSU football team. In fact, he must immediately suspend all athletics at Florida State so that the depths of the cultural problem can be thoroughly plumbed.
The indefinite suspension means no practice, no contests, and the individual athletes are not allowed to congregate or speak to each other.
And in the future, upon any complaint received by the university, anonymously or otherwise, the entire team of any athlete suffering a complaint will be suspended. Alcohol and all forms of alcohol advertising will be banned in athletes’ residences, regardless of campus or off-campus location, or age of the player. Each athlete will be required to have a live-in adult monitor on each floor of their apartment complexes.
Finally, each athlete will henceforth pay an out-of-pocket $150 per semester compliance fee to the university to hire staff to babysit our athletes. This is of course in addition to the tens of millions already being spent by the university for the supposed purpose of stopping these things before they happen.
One bad idea should not beget another
Yes, we readily admit that this is a very stupid idea and one that will and should never happen. Yet all of the absurd regulations listed above have been proposed by FSU for imposition on another group of students. Therefore, if FSU were consistent in its logic and application of rules, precedent and penalties, this is exactly what would happen to its athletic programs.
Fairness and common sense and American jurisprudence dictate that if a member of a varsity team, or even several members, misbehaved, they should be dealt with individually. Quite simply, neither football nor any other athletic team should be suspended as a group if they have done nothing wrong.
By that same logic, FSU’s fraternity and sororities should never have been suspended. Due to this now three-month suspension, considerable emotional, organizational and financial damage has been done to organizations that did nothing wrong.
If one member of any group makes a mistake, punish that one member. If you want to change culture, change it by educating people and challenging them and rewarding improvement. Mandating behavior does not guarantee it, just like banning substances does not force them to disappear.
Holding people and organizations accountable is perfectly appropriate, but nobody should be accountable for the sins of their brothers or sisters, forgive the pun. The same logic should apply to all other students, all other student organizations recognized by FSU. Greeks, the band, athletes, Young Democrats/Republicans, Libertarian Students, the Black Student Union, Hillel, etc. should all be treated identically.
Sadly, FSU does not demonstrate any equity in its treatment of various student organizations and groups, and that is a problem for the FSU administration that this recent football analogy highlights. Apparently, FSU only punishes Greeks, despite the liberal use of recreational drugs, alcohol and host of other behavioral maladies that occur daily outside the Greek system.
It is simply wrong to deprive an entire class of students, thousands of them, the use of services they have paid for as well as the associations they value and are legally entitled to enjoy. Further insult to injury is found when FSU demands that in order to be recognized, Greeks must give up nearly all of their constitutional rights and protections.
This is abuse of process and authority at its finest. Maybe it’s just hard to back off when you get applauded for bullying one class of easy targets.
Herein lies hypocrisy – being taught by example by FSU Administrators
If young people are supposed to learn lessons in college, FSU’s Greeks are certainly getting their money’s worth. They are being taught a living example of hypocrisy, double standards, violations of their First, Second and Fourth Amendment rights and generally, how totalitarianism emerges in our world.
For months, FSU has held the collective heads of its fraternity and sororities under water. While some may believe the actions of a few should result in the punishment of all, the American legal system does not work that way.
For months, FSU Greeks have been deprived of their right to associate, been looked upon as guilty until proven innocent and have been financially damaged to the tune of millions of dollars taken from them by an over-reaching Administration.
We wrote last week that despite our belief of overreaction, FSU’s plan was simply to “tap the brakes” to get people’s attention and then to restore rights. But now we have learned that as recently as yesterday, FSU’s Dr. Amy Hecht has redoubled her more punitive approach to Greek regulation. If this is the case, there is no reason for the FSU fraternities or sororities to work with her.
Hecht’s approach has been heavy-handed, inconsistent, and simply arrogant, according to several sources that have been present at meetings over a span of weeks. Twice, it is said, she has walked out of meetings before the discussions were concluded.
Hecht represents Thrasher. If he is aware of her impossible demands such as 24/7 access by police to all public and private rooms occupied by Greeks, the imposition of a Greek Tax totaling millions of dollars annually paid to her office to fund the growth of her empire, prohibition of all alcohol and even alcohol posters in all public and private rooms occupied by Greeks, then he should be ashamed for backing her. These demands and others have been published and are on record.
Thrasher, a lawyer, and his general counsel must know well they are treading on very thin Constitutional ice with their Greek Life suspension and the increasing financial damage it is causing. They would be wise to claim victory and move on quickly.
Unless FSU’s administration implements an immediate suspension of all football activities – their inconsistency and hypocrisy will be highlighted along with their unfair attacks on the Greek population, a minority group of students. Nobody likes to be called a hypocrite, but we are left with few alternatives.
Perhaps it is the FSU administration’s goal is to lose the inevitable lawsuit. If so, then the approach of Dr. Amy Hecht would be the right one for FSU to foster. Surely, a reasonable conclusion can be reached before more damage is done. Trustees, Governors and Legislators are watching. Perhaps some of them have actually read the Bill of Rights.